Sons of Anarchy 23 (July 2013)

Sons of Anarchy #23

This issue of Sons of Anarchy doubles down on everything wrong about the comic.

Not wrong about it overall, but wrong in terms of the creative direction of the book. For example, Bergara doesn’t take enough time with the panels, so what’s this issue’s solution? Over-stylize him. It feels like a spoof of “Miami Vice” at times. The heavy stylization doesn’t even try to hide the lack of detail in the art.

And Ferrier’s script brings in the IRA, because it’s actually a comic book from the past. It’s set in the late 1980s, early 1990s when you just brought the IRA into something so you could have a familiar looking guest star but nothing too exotic. Only it’s a comic book and doing a gimmick like IRA vs. SAMCRO is astoundingly unimaginative.

There’s actually some decent stuff with one guy in a trailer park. Everything else is crap.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

D4VE 3 (February 2014)

D4VE #3

This issue of D4VE is the very definition of a bridging issue. Nothing happens. D4VE starts the issue getting ready to go to war against the alien invaders, he ends the issue getting ready to go to war against the alien invaders.

Except he makes up with his wife and he and his son bond. Why? No reason. At least the son is hanging out with him so the reader gets to see some of the bonding, but the wife just up and calls and forgives him for being terrible.

Except D4VE hasn’t really been terrible so it’s a pointless thing for her to apologize for. D4VE is clearly going to be right about the aliens–Ferrier shows the aliens plotting against the robots, shows the robots being too dumb to catch on. It’s a treading water issue.

There’s some decent art from Ramon but the issue grinds along painfully.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Valentin Ramon; publisher, Monkeybrain Comics.

Sons of Anarchy 22 (June 2015)

Sons of Anarchy #22

For the first time since he took over writing the book, Ferrier delivers a good Sons of Anarchy script. He doesn’t waste too much time with his new character–the obnoxious club prospect who turns on them–and he gives everyone else enough to do. He actually works on Jax’s character, which is cool.

Unfortunately, Bergara’s art is just as inappropriate as always. It seems like a Saturday morning cartoon, not a gritty comic book. There’s lots of blood this issue, but lots of blood not a comic book make. The prospect looks like mean Archie, everyone else looks slightly goofy. It’s like Bergara’s saying not to take the comic too seriously and not the sentiment one needs while reading it.

Ferrier’s moves are quite good once the issue gets going–so good it’s almost possible to overlook the art problems–and it ends well. Except the art, of course.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

D4VE 2 (January 2014)

D4VE #2

It’s a perfectly okay issue of D4VE, it just doesn’t go anywhere. D4VE’s wife is leaving him. Wasn’t she ready to leave him in the first issue? There’s no drama to it. And, given it’s about a bunch of robots, Ferrier’s oddly calm about having characters who are monotonous.

There’s some stuff with D4VE and his son, which is a strange concept–robots building little robots to emulate human behavior (these contradictions, which D4VE sometimes comments on, are some of Ferrier’s stronger details).

Some of the problem with the issue is the aliens. There are lots of aliens. They distract from D4VE’s story, but they also give Ferrier a way to manipulate the reader. It’s sort of deft manipulation, just still obvious.

Ferrier also hints at forthcoming details. There are a couple times this issue it’s all just set up for next time out.

The good art from Ramon helps.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Valentin Ramon; publisher, Monkeybrain Comics.

Curb Stomp 4 (May 2015)

Curb Stomp #4

It’s an okay finish for Curb Stomp, nothing more. It’s like Ferrier decided the story had gotten too big so he brings it all down to a more personal story for the final… but then he realized he’d made it too small so he put in a lot more big action. And poor Neogi is left to sort it out. Large action happens in very small panels this issue.

The finale’s strangely reductive for the comic too. All the world building Ferrier did at the start–and even maintained to some point–is over now. It’s the finish, no time for new things. Lukcily Neogi’s art never lets it feel rushed; even if it feels constrained, Neogi’s composition of each panel is strong.

Ferrier probably needed another issue to make it work better. Who knows if the somewhat off narration would play out with enough space. Probably. Still, worthwhile comic.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Devaki Neogi; colorist, Jeremy Lawson; letterer, Colin Bell; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Sons of Anarchy 21 (May 2015)

Sons of Anarchy #21

It’s a better issue but still not a distinguished one. Ferrier treats the characters a little like cattle. He has them stand around, he has them go crazy, but he never gives the impression they’re anything but what he needs them to be for the story.

The issue ends in about the same place as it begins, which is odd. Even though there are exciting moments throughout the issue, by looping around, Ferrier just makes the reader wonder why the issue was necessary. And the reader should never be left wondering why something is necessary.

Bergara’s art is improving. It’s still too exaggerated and cartoony at times, but it’s definitely improving. In many ways, especially with the flat ending, it’s more successful this time out than the writing.

Sons is better this issue than last, but the series is still in trouble. Ferrier just doesn’t have a feel for it.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Curb Stomp 3 (April 2015)

Curb Stomp #3

The first issue of Curb Stomp had a lot of promise, the second issue implied maybe it didn’t… the third shows Ferrier and Neogi are going to do even better than that initial promise. It’s an outstanding comic book with a masterful control of the plotting. And some of Neogi’s best art–there are a lot of rituals in this issue (as the gangs negotiate) and Neogi has a visual theme for each different kind of ritual. It’s awesome.

Ferrier’s script is almost in real time but lots of things happen. It’s not a talking heads comic, it’s an action comic, just one with occasional talking. Each conversation is a confrontation, which works entirely differently. It’s not about exposition or explanation, it’s about action.

Not to say there isn’t general action–whether it’s suspense or just all out fight scenes–but Ferrier and Neogi do a great job maintaining tone.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Devaki Neogi; colorist, Jeremy Lawson; letterer, Colin Bell; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

D4VE 1 (February 2015)

D4VE #1

D4VE is the traditional American story of the disaffected middle aged office worker, the one whose wife doesn’t find him attractive anymore, the one who has a terrible relationship with his kid.

Only D4VE is a robot. Man made robot, robot killed man, robots inherit the Earth. Only Ferrier takes it to the nth degree and the robots actually went out and killed every living thing they could find. Actually, it’s kind of like the Borg. Only Valentin Ramon doesn’t draw D4VE and the other robots grody. They’re really slick futuristic robots, like Boris Vallejo robots.

Does D4VE work out in the end? Pretty much. Nothing happens (except aliens invading, possibly giving former war-bot D4VE a chance to shine again). D4VE fights with his wife, his boss, goes to a strip club. Ferrier isn’t doing anything new, he’s just found a new way of doing it.

And it works.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Valentin Ramon; editor, David Hedgecock; publisher, IDW Comics.

Curb Stomp 2 (March 2015)

Curb Stomp #2

The second half of the issue works out a lot better than the first. It’s strange but the first half feels like a different comic; it’s a little too soon for writer Ferrier to have defined the Curb Stomp reading experience but it’s also not. It’s a limited series. Readers want to feel a connection to the previous issue.

This issue has Ferrier doing a lot of political intrigue. It’s all excruciatingly boring. The comic does not seem to have any hook this issue, which isn’t good for Ferrier. The ending sort of delivers on one promise from the issue, but that promise was just a red herring.

And Ferrier’s off with the dialogue this time around too. The previous issue had an urgency around the usually somewhat inane document.

Artist Neogi runs hot and cold. Decent composition can’t outweigh the static faces on the characters.

It needs more oomph.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Devaki Neogi; colorist, Jeremy Lawson; letterer, Colin Bell; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Sons of Anarchy 19 (March 2015)

Sons of Anarchy #19

On his first issue, it’s clear new writer Ryan Ferrier doesn’t have handle on Sons of Anarchy. He’s got Bergara on the art, which doesn’t exactly help him. Bergara has a few more really good panels this issue than I was expecting, but he doesn’t bring anything to the book overall.

And it’s not clear what Ferrier’s trying to do. The Sons bring in a new member who screws up a deal. There are problems and there will be more problems, there’s just not any tension. It’s also strange how the kid gets inducted; maybe because Ferrier doesn’t even write new dialogue for the scene, just recycles stuff from earlier.

Sons has had a really good run; it’s possible Ferrier is just finding his footing but it sure doesn’t bode well for the series’s future. It’s an unworkable combination of too ambitious and not ambitious enough, which is too bad.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Curb Stomp 1 (February 2015)

Curb Stomp #1

Curb Stomp, quite frankly, plays like a Troma remake of Repo Man. It’s post-apocalyptic, but not in a fantastical way, with its characters just trying to get by in a difficult world. The leads are the five or six members of the gang The Fevers. They’re punk rock and all women, as opposed to their rival gangs, who are coed and don’t have any major unified fashion statements going on.

Writer Ryan Ferrier worries more about cool characters than good dialogue and it works. His dialogue’s fine, affected, not realistic. He doesn’t plot out long scenes. He keeps it moving. A lot happens in the first issue, maybe two major plot points, which is nice to see in an indie limited series.

Devaki Neogi’s art reminds a little of Love and Rockets (in a good way) and the issue is a rather substantial success. Curb Stomp gets started strong.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Devaki Neogi; colorist, Neil Lalonde; letterer, Colin Bell; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Shutter 1 (April 2014)

Shutter #1

Shutter needs to take a breath. Between Leila Del Duca’s frantic, detailed art and Joe Keatinge’s hip, artificial plotting and dialogue, it’s an adventure comic without any sense of adventure. When the lead complains life is boring, even though there are mythical creatures living among humans and some kind of futuristic steampunk thing going on… it makes sense. Shutter is actually pretty boring so why wouldn’t the protagonist be bored too.

It’s odd in some ways too how Keatinge pays lip service to it being post-gender–the lead follows in her father’s footsteps, who follows in his mother’s, etc–but then his details for the protagonist are generic single woman stuff.

More odd is the first backup–there are two, neither good, but the first one opens with the mother of all curse words. After a very YA appropriate feature. Guess they don’t actually want crossover audience.

Shutter misfires.

C- 

CREDITS

Writer, Joe Keatinge; artist, Leila Del Duca; colorist, Owen Gieni; letterer, Ed Brisson. Mungore; writer and artist, Ryan Alexander-Tanner; colorist, Catherine Peach. Tiger Lawyer, Sidebar; writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Felipe Torrent. Publisher, Image Comics.

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